A powerful stimulant that’s often compared to drugs like cocaine and ecstasy
What does it look like?
- A very fine white powder
- A very fine off-white or yellowish powder
Mephedrone was first sold over the internet as an alternative to drugs like speed, ecstasy and cocaine. Dealers sold the drug as ‘plant food’ or ‘bath salts’ and labelled it ‘not for human consumption’ to get around the law.
What does it taste/smell like?
People have compared the smell to cat pee and exhaust fumes, and say that it tastes foul and metallic.
By snorting it
Snorting is the most common way of taking mephedrone.
By swallowing it in ‘bombs’
Some people wrap the powder in a cigarette paper and swallow it (known as ‘bombing’).
By taking capsules and pills
It can also be found in capsules and tablets, but this is much less common.
By injecting it
Injecting mephedrone, as with other stimulants, is very risky because of the fast-acting, intensity of the hit. Users often feel the need to redose too, which can result in serious injecting-related injuries as well as overdose.
How does it make you feel?
Taking mephedrone can make you:
- very affectionate towards the people around you
- full of energy
- very sensitive to touch and sexusally aroused
It can also make you:
- on edge
- feel like your heart is racing or not beating properly (heart palpitations)
- very hot
- urgently need to poo lots
- grind your teeth (gurn)
How does it make people behave?
Mephedrone is likely to make people:
- very confident
- full of energy
- keen to dance
- very affectionate towards the people around them (this is sometimes called being ‘loved up’)
People high on mephedrone can also be:
- over confident
- on edge
How long the effects last and the drug stays in your system depends on how much you’ve taken, your size and what other drugs you may have also taken.
It can take you a long time to get to sleep after taking mephedrone. Some users say they suffer from insomnia for several days afterwards.
Physical health risks
Taking mephedrone involves risks – and the dangers and long-term effects are becoming clearer as more reports emerge.
Here’s what we know:
There are several deaths a year in the UK from people taking mephedrone.
Some users have reported blue or cold fingers – probably because mephedrone affects the heart and the circulation.
There have been reports of people being hospitalised due to the short-term effects of mephedrone.
Some users have had severe nosebleeds after snorting mephedrone.
It risks overstimulating and damaging your heart and your circulation.
It risks overstimulating your nervous system, which may cause hallucinations, feelings of agitation and even fits.
Overheating has been a significant cause of deaths when other amphetamine-type drugs, such as ecstasy, have been used along with mephedrone.
Injecting mephedrone is particularly dangerous for several reasons, including the fact that it's easier to overdose from injecting.
Mental health risks
Mephedrone can lead to:
- loss of short-term memory
What is mephedrone cut with?
Mephedrone is sometimes cut with:
- monosodium glutamate (normally used as a flavour enhancer)
- benzocaine (a local anaesthetic which can produce a ‘numbing’ effect)
Is it dangerous to mix with other drugs?
Yes. You increase the risks to yourself, including the risk of death, if you combine alcohol with mephedrone or any other drug that causes a high.
Also, you can never be entirely sure that what you’re buying is actually mephedrone and not something else.
Can you get addicted?
Yes, you can get addicted to mephedrone.
Some users have reported a strong psychological dependence to the drug, which can lead to the user taking increasing amounts.
Users say it can be very compulsive too, and that once they’ve started a mephedrone session it can be difficult to stop until they’ve used up their entire supply.
This is a Class B drug, which means it’s illegal to have for yourself, give away or sell.
Possession can get you up to 5 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Supplying someone else, even your friends, can get you up to 14 years in prison, an unlimited fine or both.
Like drink-driving, driving when high is dangerous and illegal. If you’re caught driving under the influence, you may receive a heavy fine, driving ban, or prison sentence.
If the police catch people supplying illegal drugs in a home, club, bar or hostel, they can potentially prosecute the landlord, club owner or any other person concerned in the management of the premises.